Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snow Meister

Hold on tight - I can already tell this one's going to ramble...

I did a Google search to make certain I was spelling "Meister" correctly, only to find out that my entire life I've had this character's name wrong.  Apparently it is "Snow Miser". I swear they pronounced his and his brother Heat's last names with a "t" (to make it nearly rhyme with "Mister" in the lyrics, although I think the actual effect they were going for was "consonance"), and according to Google I'm apparently not alone.  Plenty of other people also call them the "Meisters" as well, those errant monstrous children of that name-I-can't-use-because-of-Keln's-family-friendly-rules "Mother Nature".

I blame this on the "Meisterburger Burgermeister" character in the prequel.

(OK, upon reviewing this post I've decided it is indeed a hodge-podge mess, but for now I'm not rewriting it, so you're advised to proceeded with extreme caution.)

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then you're either:
  • Too young for the rest of this post to be relevant, so have yourself a great evening or next day or whathaveyou...
  • Not from the same cultural background as me, and in this rare case "lucky you" because IMHO the Meister brothers (yes, I'm sticking with that spelling!) are something of an abomination as far as Christmas specials go... Way, way worse than Bing Crosby and David Bowie doing "Little Drummer Boy", but not nearly as bad as the "Star Wars Holiday Special", because that's a bar that's so low it's been buried, or
  • Have about the same capacity for remembering stop-action animation details as I do for sports trivia, i.e. "none at all".


Obama and his Marxist minions have got me frankly worried about the economy.  I know, I know, you're all aghast and surprised at the extreme level of alarmism I'm expressing here, but what can I say? I'm a conservative!

Because I'm worried about the economy, I'd love to be one of those "refurbished missile silo" survivalists who has a decade of food and ammunition stocked away and whose underground luxurious resort comes complete with filtered hot & cold springs and a communication system to rival Mr. Universe's from "Serenity".

Alas, I'm not rich. At least not by local standards. I try not to lose sight of fact that likely anyone reading this post is astonishingly rich from a "global" point of view, but by "middle-class Texan" standards I'm basically just a middle-class Texan.

So since I'm not going to ever have my own mad scientist's lair survivalist's retreat, I find it incumbent upon me to "do what I can" in terms of ensuring my family has a backup food supply strategy, and I don't simply mean a "stocked larder".  I mean something more along the lines of "although as a kid I arrogantly and unjustly looked down my nose at 'hicks', I now sorely wish I'd been raised on a farm".

Enter "Aquaponics".

You see, if you're just doing "hydroponics", you've got to buy your nutrients from somewhere, and they're expensive. Plus, everyone assumes you're growing pot.  If you're just doing "aquaculture", i.e. "fish farming", you've got a heck of an ongoing waste-disposal problem.  But if you combine the two, and get the "nitrogen cycle" going with the correct bacteria in place, the fish waste becomes plant food, and the plants clean the water for the fish. This is not new technology - not by a long shot. But there IS a surge in interest world-wide, for a variety of reasons, including obviously "serious concerns about the economy".

So this is my latest extra-curricular passion.  Not that I really have the slightest interest in raising fish, mind you; this isn't like those guys who collect stamps, or are into duck decoys, or run fantasy NFL cheerleader squads (I assume that's what you guys are doing)... If the economy went back to the good old days when there were eight jobs for every IT guy even thinking about maybe looking for another position, I'd turn my back on these food-generating-plumbing-nightmares and walk away.  But we're not in those days. And they don't seem to be on the horizon.

Through a year-long set of complicated dance steps that I won't bore you with because frankly they're boring, I ended up being given six 12,000 gallon water tanks. Yeah, I was surprised too. Grateful, but surprised.  I had no idea at all what I was going to do with them - an issue that is still partly unresolved.

I broke the first one through my own stupidity (although part of it may be salvageable). I gave one away to a man I haven't known for very long, but whom I've come to respect (and frankly envy, but that's another story). Since I'm fully in the throws of "new convert syndrome" I decided aquaponics should be taught in my local public school system, so out of the blue I floated the idea past the principal of our technical education magnet high school, and since he and his agronomist both loved the idea, I gave the school one of the big tanks.  It had been unloaded less than two hours before a storm blew its 4,000 pounds across the parking lot and into a light pole, breaking both, so I gave the school another one. That left me with two, both of which are in storage on a friend's industrial property.

Today I finally got some time to do something about the broken tank that is still sitting in the school's parking lot. This is it prior to today's work, and in this picture the tank is rotated so you can't see the big crack in its middle:

The tank is ten feet in diameter, and fifteen feet tall.

All I was able to do today was cut off the top (the right-hand side in this picture) using a circular saw.  It took me a couple of hours, and left me completely covered in fine plastic dust and debris.  For the last two hours, no matter how much I shake my head I still throw off plastic snow in every direction. It has saturated my clothes. I had to dig it out of my ears and navel, and can't wait to jump into the shower.

I could play "Snow Meister" except he was the thin one.

Tomorrow will be Round Two, however this time I'll be bringing an axe and a chain saw. Why all the effort? I've got to get this out of their lot because of "The Bureaucracy".


Wouldn't you just know it?  The ISD's brand-new Administration building is right next door, so despite the school being all "two-thumbs-up" (times at least six), they're getting a lot of pressure from the Admins to clean up the riff-raff from behind the building (where the view's blocked from the street) because (I guess) it is taking up valuable parking spaces nobody ever uses, or (more likely) because they can be seen from the Administration building's upper floors. Not that I'm emotionally invested in this, obviously.

Aaaaaaaanyway... I want to stay on the school's good side, literally "for the children", because I see home aquaponics systems or rigs becoming today's (or tomorrow's) "Victory Gardens". And, I'll admit, the "self reliance" part feels pretty good too, although frankly when you get involved in this sort of thing it is quickly thrown into sharp relief just how reliant you are on others as well, but in this case such reliance is cooperative and voluntary, and at least in my neck of the woods largely peopled by extremely helpful and generous concerned conservatives. But in aquaponics circles even those who aren't conservatives end up being extremely helpful and generous, so "win/win".

Back in 1995, author Terry Goodkind wrote the first book in his "Sword of Truth" series, called "Wizard's First Rule", which was a pretty decent fantasy book (and - alas! - was made into a wretched TV series).  The actual Wizard's First Rule itself was “People are stupid. They will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true.”

I think that's pretty accurate. I hope I haven't fallen victim to adhering to a bumper-sticker philosophy (my favorite being "My Entire World View", so that if you buy that sticker you can say "My entire world view fits on a bumper sticker" to people who aren't in on the joke, but I digress). Politicians, whether they're aware of it or not, use the Wizard's First Rule against each other and the general populace all the time! And in the book (I don't think this is a spoiler because I'm leaving out the details) it becomes apparent that Wizards themselves aren't immune to having the First Rule used against them. So when it says "people are stupid", it means everybody. I'm sure Scott Adams would agree!

I'm not saying Obama's a Dark Wizard (and no, that's not a racial statement!), I'm just saying it bothers me that I have to keep reminding myself that it is really unlikely he is. I shouldn't have to mentally work so hard to convince myself that my ideological antithesis isn't worse than he already is, but I can easily picture Obama doing the stupid Snow Meister song and dance. (Although, in his defense, I must admit he was fantastic in "Trick the Bridesmaid". Please note: I have to put a "Language Warning!" on that link.)

Where am I going with all this?  Good question!  It shouldn't astonish anyone that I think Washington has played us for fools for a long, long time. If we possess the representational democracy that I, possibly naively, believe we still have, then all of this is our own wretched fault.

How do we rectify this?  How do we turn the tide?

Peace, sadly, is the lull between wars. Stock up and be prepared.

I'm not advocating or agitating for a war, but it smells like one's on the way.

I'd love to be wrong.

(Faces just barely North of due East, shakes fist at the night sky)
"*Censored long series of expletives* You, Snow Meister!!!"

Winter is coming.


  1. I read the WHOLE thing! Do I get a prize?

  2. You get the satisfaction of completing a difficult, and possibly pointless, task.


    There will be additional such tests in the future.

  3. I wish I was a middle-class Texan. I mean, I've got the middle-class thing going, at least until Obamacare destroy the medical system, but I really wish I was in Texas, rather than Oiho(sic). When the stuff goes down, I want to be on the right side and in the right place, if you know what I mean.

  4. Any and all good-hearted sound-minded Oihoians are always more than welcome down here in the Great State of Texas!

    Pick the climate of your choice - I believe by most counts we've got about five!